Page 53 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
I9I4-I9I8
effect on the troops, who moved up with an almost enthusiastic
swing and with their spirits undaunted. The route lay across the
Yser Canal, past the northern outskirts of Ypres and through La
Brique to Shell Trap Farm, a name later altered to Mouse Trap
Farm on account of its ill-omened sound. The battalion received a
warm welcome to the famous Salient, being shelled almost
all
the
way up from the Canal; Major Griffin was wounded in the head
though he was able to rejoin two days later, and three drivers and
three horses of the transport were killed. Major Griffin at first
refused to go to hospital, though he was bleeding profusely, and
Tyrrell had to invoke the regulation which provides that all combat–
ant personnel on being wounded come under the orders of the medical
service before he could enforce his views on his Commanding Officer.
Captain ]. E. S. Woodman then assumed command. The march
seemed endless, especially as a lack of maps and of sufficient guides
caused "B" Company and part of "C" Company to lose their way
for a time, as did parts of two other units of the I2th Brigade. The
relief was completed by
I.30
a.m. and at daybreak the battalion
could take stock of its new quarters, which provided the scantiest
protection. Shell Trap Farm stood near the centre of a narrow
ridge running north from Wieltje which is one and a half miles
north-east of Ypres, the farm being 850 yards north of that village.
Before the war, the farm was dignified on the maps by the title of
"Chateau" and it marked this fact by having a moat round it. The
position taken over by the battalion was "L"-shaped, the shorter
arm being to the east of the farm and held by "B" Company, which
faced roughly north, and the longer ann running northwards from it
and being held by "D" Company and "A" Company, facing east, with
"C" Company, nominally in reserve but actually almost in the front
line, between them in the solitary communication trench of the
sector. Battalion headquarters were with "C" Company, but the
medical officer and his aid post were in the front line near "B"
Company's headquarters. There was no direct communication
between the two parts of the angle and "B" Company was to all
intents and purposes isolated from the rest of the battalion, though
it had the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the 2nd Seaforth High–
landers on its right. To the left of "A" Company, the line was con–
tinued by the King's Own. As was only to be expected from the
circumstances in which this position had to be occupied, there was
but little in the way of a continuous trench. especially on
"BI>
Company's front, protection being obtained from banks topped by
hedges and from holes dug in the banks, though a certain amount of
parados had been thrown up. Of the four machine guns now held by
the battalion, three were with "B" Company. one under the com–
mand of Corporal T. Channer on the extreme right close to the
Seaforths. one under the command of Private
J.
Lynn just to the
west of the Wieltje-St. ] ulien road and a third under Lance–
Corporal A. Hartney between Lynn's gun and Shell Trap Farm.
The fourth
gun
was near Hampshire Farm. The German line was